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AAKPTEI AlOISH nOTMON AnOTMON.
Oh I there are spirits in the air,
And genii of the evening breeze,
With mountain winds, and babbling springs,
And mountain seas, that are the voice
And thou hast sought in starry eyes
Beams that were never meant for thine, Another's wealth ;—tame sacrifice To a fond faith! still dost thou pine! Still dost thou hope that greeting hands, Voice, looks, or lips, may answer thy demands?
Ah! wherefore didst thou build thine hope
On the false earth's inconstancy! Did thine own mind afford no scope Of love, or moving thoughts to thee 1 That natural scenes or human smiles Could steal the power to wind thee in their wiles.
Yes, all the faithless smiles are fled
Whose falsehood left thee broken-hearted; The glory of the moon is dead; Night's ghost and dreams have now departed; Thine own soul still is true to thee, But changed to a foul fiend through misery.
This fiend, whose ghastly presence ever
Beside thee like thy shadow hangs,
A Wit! the moor is dark beneath the moon, Rapid clouds have drunk the last pale beam of even: Away ! the gathering winds will call the darkness soon, And profoundest midnight shroud the serene lights of heaven. Pause not! The time is past! Every voice cries, Away! Tempt not with one last glance thy friend's ungentle mood: Thy lover's eye, so glazed and cold, dares not entreat thy stay: Duty and dereliction guide thee back to solitude.
Away, away! to thy sad and silent home;
Pour bitter tears on its desolated hearth; Watch the dim shades as like ghosts they go and come, And complicate strange webs of melancholy mirth. I The leaves of wasted autumn woods shall float around thine head, The blooms of dewy spring shall gleam beneath thy feet: t But thy soul or this world must fade in the frost that binds the dead, Ere midnight's frown and morning's smile, ere thou and peace may meet.
The cloud shadows of midnight possess their own repose, For the weary winds are silent, or the moon is in the deep; Some respite to its turbulence unresting ocean knows; Whatever moves, or toils, or grieves, hath its appointed sleep. Thou in the grave shalt rest—yet till the phantoms flee Which that house and heath and garden made dear to thee erewhile, Thy remembrance, and repentance, and deep musings, are not free From the music of two voices, and the light of one sweet smile.
The cold earth slept below,
And all around
With a chilling sound,
Beneath the sinking moon.
The wintry hedge was black,
The birds did rest
On the bare thorn's breast,
Which the frost had made between.
Thine eyes glowed in the glare
As a fen-fire's beam
The moon made thy lips pale, beloved;
The night did shed
On thy dear head
Might visit thee at will.
Poet of Nature, thou hast wept to know
FEELINGS OF A REPUBLICAN ON THE
I Hated thee, fallen tyrant! I did groan
NOTE ON THE EARLY POEMS. BY THE EDITOR.
The remainder of Shelley's Poems will be arranged in the order in which they were written. Of course, mistakes will occur in placing some of the shorter ones; for, as I have said, many of these were thrown aside, and I never saw them till I had the misery of looking over his writings, after the hand that traced them was dust; and some were in the hands of others, and I never saw them till now. The subjects of the poems are often to me an unerring guide; but on other occasions, I can only guess, by finding them in the pages of the same manuscript book that contains poems with the date of whose composition I am fully conversant. In the present arrangement all his poetical translations will be placed together at the end of the volume.
The loss of his early papers prevents my being able to give any of the poetry of his boyhood. Of the few I give as early poems, the greater part were published with "Alastor ;" some of them were written previously, some at the same period. The poem beginning, " Oh, there are spirits in the air," was addressed in idea to Coleridge, whom he never knew ; and at whose character he could only guess imperfectly, through his writings, and accounts he heard of hira from some who knew him well. He regarded his change of opinions as rather an act of will than conviction, and believed that in his inner heart he would be haunted by what Shelley considered the better and holier aspirations of his youth The summer evening that suggested to him the poem written in the churchyard of Lechdale, occurred during his
voyage np the Thames, in the autumn of 1813 He had been advised by a physician to live as much as possible in the open air ; and a fortnight of a bright warm July was spent in tracing the Thames to its source. He never spent a season more tranquilly than the summer of 1815. He had just recovered from a Bevere pulmonary attack; the weather was warm and pleasant. He lived near Windsor Forest, and his life was spent under its shades, or on the water ; meditating subjects for verse. Hitherto, he had chiefly aimed at extending his political doctrines ; and attempted so to do by appeals, in prose essays, to the people, exhorting them to claim their rights ; but he had now begun to feel that the time for action was not ripe in England, and that the pen was the only instrument wherewith to prepare the way for better things.
In the scanty journals kept during those years, I find a record of the books that Shelley read during several years. During the years of 1814 and 1815, the list is extensive. It includes in Greek ; Homer, Hesiod, Theocritus—the histories of Thucydides and Herodotus, and Diogenes Laertius. In Latin ; Petronius, Suetonius, some of the works of Cicero, a large proportion of those of Seneca and Livy. In English ; Milton's Poem*, Wordsworth's Excursion, Southey's Madoc and Thalaba, Locke on the Human Understanding, Bacon's Novum Organum. In Italian, Ariosto, Tasso, and Alfieri. In French, the Reveries d'un Solitaire of Rousseau. To these may be added severalmodernbooksof travels. He read few novels. THE SUNSET.
POEMS WRITTEN IN MDCCCXVI.
! HYMN TO INTELLECTUAL BEAUTY.
There late was One, within whose subtle being,
"Inheritor of more than earth can give, Passionless calm and silence unreproved, WhetheT the dead find, oh, not sleep ! but rest, And are the uncomplaining things they seem, Or live, or drop in the deep sea of Love; Oh, that like thine, mine epitaph were—Peace!" This was the only moan she ever made.
The awful shadow of some unseen Power
As summer winds that creep from flower to flower:
Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain It visits with inconstant glance [shower,
Each human heart and countenance;
Like hues and harmonies of evening,
Like clouds in starlight widely spread,
Like memory of music fled,
Like aught that for its grace may be
Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.
Spirit of Beautt, that dost consecrate
With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon Of human thought or form, where art thou gone?
Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,
This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate!
Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown;
For love and hate, despondency and hope;
No voice from some sublimer world hath ever
Remain the records of their vain endeavour;
Frail spells, whose uttered charm might not avail
Thy light alone, like mist o'er mountains driven,
Gives grace and truth to life's unquiet dream.
Love, Hope, and Self-esteem, like clouds, depart And come, for some nncertain moments lent. Man were immortal and omnipotent,
Didst thou, unknown and awful as thou art,
Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his Thou messenger of sympathies [heart.
That wax and wane in lovers' eyes;
Thou, that to human thought art nourishment,
While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and Bped
Thro'many a listening chamber, cave, and ruin,
And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing Hopes of high talk with the departed dead. I called on poisonous names with which our youth
I was not heard, I saw them not; [is fed:
When musing deeply on the lot Of life, at that sweet time when winds are wooing
All vital things that wake to bring
News of birds and blossoming,
Sudden, thy shadow fell on ine;
I vowed that I would dedicate my powers
To thee and thine: have I not kept the vow!
I call the phantoms of a thousand hours [now
Each from his voiceless grave: they have in visioned
They know that never joy illumed my brow,
Wouldst givewhate'erthese words cannot express.
The day becomes more solemn and serene
Which thro' the summer is not heard nor seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
Descended, to my onward life supply
To fear himself, and love all human kind.
LINES WRITTEN IN THE VALE OF CIIAMOUNI.
The everlasting universe of things
Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves,
Now dark—now glittering—now reflecting gloom—
Now lending splendour, where from secret springs
The source of human thought its tribute brings
Of waters,—with a sound but half its own,
Such as a feeble brook will oft assume
In the wild woods, among the mountains lone,
Where waterfalls around it leap for ever,
Where woods and winds contend, and a vast river
Over its rocks ceaselessly bursts and raves.
ii. Thus thou, Ravine of Arve—dark, deep Ravine— Thou many-coloured, many-voiced vale, Over whose pines and crags and caverns sail Fast clouds, shadows, and sunbeams; awful scene, Where Power in likeness of the Arve comes down From the ice-gulfs that gird his secret throne, Burstingthrough these dark mountains like the flame Of lightning through the tempest ;—thou dost lie, The giant brood of pines around thee clinging, Children of elder time, in whose devotion,
The chainless winds still come and ever came
To drink their odours, and their mighty swinging
To hear—an old and solemn harmony:
Thine earthly rainbows stretched across the sweep
Of the ethereal waterfall, whose veil
Robes some unsculpturcd image ; the strange sleep
Which, when the voices of the desert fail,
Wraps all in its own deep eternity ;—
Thy caverns echoing to the Arve's commotion
A loud, lone sound, no other sound can tame;
Thou art pervaded with that ceaseless motion,
Thou art the path of that unresting sound—
Dizzy Ravine! and when I gaze on thee,
I seem as in a trance sublime and strange
To muse on my own separate fantasy,
My own, my human mmd, which passively
Now renders and receives fast influencings,
Holding an unremitting interchange
With the clear universe of things around;
One legion of wild thoughts, whose wandering wings
Now float above thy darkness, and now rest
Where that or thou art no unbidden guest,
In the still cave of the witch Poesy,
Seeking among the shadows that pass by
Ghosts of all things that are, some shade of thee,
Some phantom, some faint image ; till the breast
From which they fled recalls them, thou art there!
Some say that gleams of a remoter world
Visit the soul in sleep,—that death is slumber,
And that its shapes the busy thoughts outnumber
Of those who wake and live. I look on high;
Has some unknown omnipotence unfurled
The veil of life and death t or do I lie
In dream, and does the mightier world of sleep
Speed far around and inaccessibly
Its circles! For the very spirit fails,
Driven like a homeless cloud from steep to strep
That vanishes among the viewless gales!
Far, far above, piercing the infinite sky,
Mount Blanc appears,—still, snowy, and serene
Its subject mountains their unearthly forms
The fields, the lakes, the forests, and the streams,
Thf torpor of the year when feeble dreams
Of man flies far in dread ; his work and dwelling
MontBlancyetgleamson high:—the power is there,
NOTE ON POEMS OF 1816. BY THE EDITOE.
Shelley wrote little during this year. The Poem entitled the "Sunset" was written in the spring of the year, while still residing at Bishopsgate. He spent the summer on the shores of the Lake of Geneva. "The Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" was conceived during his voyage round the lake with Lord Byron. He occupied himself during this voyage, by reading the Nouvelle Heloise for the first time. The reading it on the very spot where the scenes are laid, added to the interest; and he was at once surprised and charmed by the passionate eloquence and earnest enthralling interest that pervades this work. There was something in the character of Saint-Preux, in his abnegation of self, and in the worship he paid to Love, that coincided with Shelley's own disposition ; and, though differing in many of the views, and shocked by others, yet the effect of the whole was fascinating and delightful.
"Mont Blanc" was inspired by a view of that mountain and its surrounding peaks and valleys, as he lingered on the Bridge of Arve on his way through the Valley of Chamouni. Shelley makes the following mention of this poem in his publication of the History of Six Weeks' Tour, and Letters from Switzerland :—
"The poem entitled ' Mont Blanc,' is written by the author of the two letters from Chamouni and Vevai. It was composed under the immediate impression of the deep and powerful feelings excited by the objects which it attempts to describo; and as an undisciplined overflowing of the soul, rests its claim to approbation on an attempt to imitate the untameable wildness and inaccessible solemnity from which those feelings sprang."
This was an eventful year, and less time was given to study tlian usual. In the list of bis reading I find, in Greek: Theocritus, the Prometheus of yEsehylus, several of Plutarch's Lives and the works of Lucian. In Latin: Lucretius, Pliny's Letters, the Annals and Germany of Tacitus. In French: the History of the French Revolution, by Lacretelle. He read for the first time, this year, Montaigne's Essays, and regarded them ever after as one of the most delightful and instructive books in the world. The list is scanty in English works—Locke's Essay, Political Justice, and Coleridge's Lay Sermon, form nearly the whole. It was his frequent habit to read aloud to me in the evening; in this way we read, this year, the New Testament, Paradise Lost, Spenser's Fairy Queen, and Don Quixote.